Welcome visitors!

Thank you for visiting our Christmas Service Blog. We welcome comments from visitors.
We would love to hear if you decide to implement this idea in your family.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Use of our Talents

Written by Dad (Ed)

I want to start this with a little bit of background so as not to offend my recipient.

The scriptures tell us something about the talents or gifts that we may be given. I learned early in my life that I was not given any sort of talent to play an instrument. As a young boy we were given the chance to play the accordion and I soon found out that was not one of the gifts or talent that I was to have.

While in the mission field my companion and I were asked to take the sacrament to an old Maori man who lived quite a ways out of town and could not make it to the church. We sang a song as we prepared the sacrament  When we were finished with every thing and were ready to leave, the old man thanked us and was so glad to be able to get the sacrament, but he said to us that the song we sang was the worst that he had ever heard. So I definitely was not give the gift of a singing voice!
 Now we fast forward a few years. I always thought that men, all men could fix most  things or build things for their own home. It wasn’t till I was asked by a lot different members of the different wards that we lived in, that would pay me to come in do some of these tasks. I have come to realize that some just really don't have in them to be able to do this sort of thing. While teaching  construction I often said to my classes that not all of them were cut out to be in construction.
Sister Gates has told me many times that this is a gift that I was given.
Now!! to my service that I was to do in behalf of the person who's name I have this year!
Serving in Africa was not really a hard task of doing service so ,
The real challenge that I have each year as we do this, is to really adapt it for the person we have been given.?
Last year we had a post about our Christmas Day at the orphanage and what we saw when we arrived.    This is what we saw!


After that day all the couples talked about how we could correct the problem. Each one had a different opinion and, all were concerned about the coast. We all felt that to stop the water from coming in was not going to be real easy, was the #1thing had to be done.
I had the idea that I could hire some of the former students that had gone through the school, that were not working and we might be able to build a block wall along the side of the creek that would stop the water! And put in a few shelf’s and do a little painting.
Notice the water line on the building, the sand bags did not do the job. 
The only problem was that I was still teaching and would not be able to work much on the project, so the project was put on the wish and hope to get to it some time

A few months later I was to be done with teaching and was going to be given back to the Mission president for him to put Sister gates and I to work doing whatever he needed us to do.
 We were asked to go to another country to get things in order for a new couple that was to be coming. After 6 weeks we returned to Kinshasa.

 This was about the time that we were given our names for the service we were to do. Now,! My chance to do what I wanted to do to fix the water problem at the orphanage and at same do it for and behalf of my person this year
 This is also where I thought that I could use “my gift or talent to fix the water problem and fix a lot of things that needed to be done to make things a little better for them. You know  the Honey due list thing. I just needed to be given the time I would do this for my project of service. 
What started out as a simple project became a real remodel of a long list of things:

River wall 
Plumbing -General
Replace water spigot for drinking water
Add 2 more water spigots
Bring water line from source to shower
Septic Tank refurbished
Shower and Toilet
Tear down existing and rebuild in back
New floor hole "toilet" installed
Dig hole for drainage by shower
1000 L Water tank on top of shower
Wiring & light bulb fixtures in each room
New tin on kitchen roof
Replace concrete floors/ Fill big hole
Tear out old concrete-put into big hole
Replace concrete floors kitchen
Replace concrete floors bedrooms
1  more big bed & 1 more small bed
Children's Bedrooms
Paint primer & topcoat - Oil Base
Foam slabs & covers for beds
Baskets for clothes & personal items
Tree/Growth removal & cleanup
Tables:  4 for  kitchen/dining/prep area
Paint school rooms
Power to school rooms
Paint blackboards


I was still a missionary, but because our Mission president wanted Sister Gates to work in the office and he really did not have much for me in the office I asked if I could work at orphanage and if he needed me at any time, I would be there to help when I was needed.

So the work began...

When I first got started I thought that I would just supervise these former students.

I knew that the person I was given would love to be involved with something like this, but I would have to really jump into it and get down and dirty! And use my "talent/ gift".

The students I was able to get were the ones that did not get picked up by the contractor. This meant that sometimes things did not go as I had planned.

There were times when I thought I was working with my recipient.

I had the opportunity of thinking about this project for 3 months with my recipient in mind. I really think we bonded!  

The toilet and shower before we started!

Some time along the line of construction we decided that we should put in a new roof

The before in side of the bed rooms, notice the water line

Now that the project was well out of hand coast wise and time wise I knew that help was needed.

There was a contractor that came over from USA that was building one of the church buildings. They said they would let us have all the blocks that we needed. They also gave us the concrete and  of their workers from their  job site for two weeks. This helped us out so much and saved us a lot of money.
We also asked the church humanitarian missionaries if they could get help from the church, which they did and they came through with financial help.
We were also give money from one of the Mission couple’s family’s that had come over for a visit and had visited the orphanage.   
When we talked to one of our families Mike and Mitzi they told some of their neighbors who also wanted help. When we told them that decided to do a new roof. they wanted to have something specific so the roof was a great fit for them. Thank you Mike and Mitzi. and the Bethers for providing a new roof.
 It’s not too often that you not are not only the recipient of a service project.  but you also helped pay for a portion of it.
 This was so heartwarming in many ways and the most well received I have been able to do. The Sister who runes this orphanage wept many times. Every time we said we were adding something she would break into tears.

So now I will let the pictures speak for themselves, as they say a Picture is worth a thousand Words .
both before and after.

In conclusion I want to thank Mike McBride for the opportunity to serve for him. That may not mean much to many of you but in Africa this is one thing they do all the time.
I was able to use the gift that may have been given to me, But don't ask me to sell Ice to the Eskimos, but I have no doubt that Mike McBride could!!!!I will still have the chance to serve Mike because I keep getting not a little but a hole lot of hints to get some kind of platform built so some of his BYU fans up higher at the rear of the theater?? just to see BYU Lose??
Mike thank you for providing so well for your family this alone gives me so much comfort.
Kia KA HA Kita Rongo Pi
Much Love, your favorite father in law




  1. I love reading about the work you did at the orphanage. I feel so honored to be a part of your family.

  2. How wonderful to make such a difference. .. both dad and mike.